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Customer network management (CNM) is a term used to describe the process of controlling and maintaining customer access to company networks. Most networks that are built by a company are built specifically to aid customers in accomplishing a wide range of tasks or accessing a variety of services. Access to the network usually includes both retrieving management information and customizing the network for personalize use. As such, managing that access effectively is central to maintaining network integrity, protecting the network from unwanted intrusion or inadvertent distribution of sensitive data, and providing the right mix of customer access privileges. The process involves the potential use of a wide range of tools, interfaces and distribution models to help implement a CNM strategy.
One prime example of customer network management is access to an automated teller machine (ATM). Individuals interact daily with ATM networks to retrieve cash, check account balances, transfer funds, and utilize a variety of other services related to banking needs. Managers of ATM networks will need to establish precise policies for such access to ensure customers only gain access to their account information, rather than the information retained for other customers. Additionally, network managers will need to build in security measures into the policies to ensure that access privileges are granted effectively. This involves understanding what customers need from the network to accomplish their banking objectives effectively.
Research and feedback are an essential part of customer network management. Network managers need to understand what information customers will need in order to access and establish management procedures to deliver that information effectively. There are two ways this is usually done: soliciting direct feedback from customers and actively observing customers as they interact with the network. Thus, CNM is constantly changing to reflect customer needs, while assuring network viability and security. As well, there are two sides to the network: the customer side and the internal side.
Good customer network managers can recognize the needs of both simultaneously, at any given time, while establishing policies and procedures to balance the needs of each. Employed to expedite this process, networks managers will use a wide range of tools meant to facilitate customer network management. Such tools usually include monitoring tools, design tools, security tools, authentication tools and support tools. Each customer network management tool provides managers with insight into a wide range of CNM concerns. These concerns include network availability, adequate functioning of equipment, customer interaction, and access and systems security.